Aims. We characterise the relation between the gas and dust content of the interstellar medium towards young stellar objects in the Orion Nebula Cluster. Methods. X-ray observations provide estimates of the absorbing equivalent hydrogen column density NH based on spectral fits. Near-infrared extinction values are calculated from intrinsic and observed colour magnitudes (J - H) and (H - Ks) as given by the VISTA Orion A survey. A linear fit of the correlation between column density and extinction values AV yields an estimate of the NH/AV ratio. We investigate systematic uncertainties of the results by describing and (if possible) quantifying the influence of circumstellar material and the adopted extinction law, X-ray models, and elemental abundances on the NH/AV ratio. Results. Assuming a Galactic extinction law with RV = 3.1 and solar abundances by Anders & Grevesse (1989, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 53, 197), we deduce an NH/AV ratio of (1.39 ± 0.14) × 1021 cm-2 mag-1 for Class III sources in the Orion Nebula Cluster where the given error does not include systematic uncertainties. This ratio is consistent with similar studies in other star-forming regions and approximately 31% lower than the Galactic value. We find no obvious trends in the spatial distribution of NH/AV ratios. Changes in the assumed extinction law and elemental abundances are demonstrated to have a relevant impact on deduced AV and NH values, respectively. Large systematic uncertainties associated with metal abundances in the Orion Nebula Cluster represent the primary limitation for the deduction of a definitive NH/AV ratio and the physical interpretation of these results.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science